Celtics

The flat truth about Kyrie Irving’s future in Boston

The flat truth about Kyrie Irving’s future in Boston

A lot has been made, and will continue to be made, about Kyrie Irving’s vague response to questions about his long-term future with the Celtics. The star point guard said, “Contractually, financially, [an extension] just doesn't make any sense,” when asked about potentially signing an extension with the Celtics this summer (Irving would make approximately $80 million more if he opted out of his contract and re-signed with the Celtics next summer).

A lot has also been made, and will continue to be made, about Irving’s vague response to questions about his opinion on the shape of the Earth. The 26-year-old was vexingly ambiguous on the topic in an interview with the New York Times' Sopan Deb last week.

Not enough has been made about the connection between the two topics: Kyrie’s feelings about his future with the Celtics and his skepticism about the shape of the planet.

Alex Moshakis recently wrote about a Flat Earther conference for the Guardian and made a few observations about the type of people in attendance that reminded me of Kyrie.

A distrust of the establishment, or “them,” is necessary for anyone who doubts the scientific consensus we’ve held for thousands of years. Now, I don’t know Irving (although I did say hello to him at Media Day last fall) but I could see why he might have trust issues. The Cavaliers signed him to a max extension in the summer of 2014, releasing a statement in which they called him “firmly at the core of our Cavaliers team and family for years to come." just days later they signed LeBron James. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, when word reportedly gets to Kyrie that the team has had internal talks about what they might receive in return for him in a trade. Irving hit the arguably the biggest shot in NBA history in Game 7 of the 2015 NBA Finals, helping the Cavaliers overcome a 3-1 deficit against the 73-win Golden State Warriors...and they’re thinking of trading him? 

That’s when the next common trait of Flat Earthers comes into play. Moshakis notes that many of the people he spoke to at the conference were in search of control over their life. They don’t want to just swallow what scientist tell them because it’s what everyone else does, they want to decide for themselves, and that a rejection of the establishment is a “bid to reclaim personal agency.” Irving’s request for a trade was a way to regain control of his career … just like unrestricted free agency will be next summer.

Harry Dyer, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia was also at the Flat Earth conference. His write up on Live Science  focused on the attendees' skepticism “of existing power structures and their tight grasps on knowledge.” Irving’s appearance on ESPN’s First Take last fall was a clear example of his refusal to accept social norms. He doesn’t care whether he was “supposed” to want to stay with LeBron James, the best player on the planet. He wanted to leave and didn’t care what NBA society thought about it. It’s honestly refreshing.

That’s why reading into Kyrie’s comments, one way or the other, about his future with the Celtics are just conjecture. Conventional wisdom says he should want to stay in Boston, where he will make the most money, play for a prestigious franchise with an elite coach surrounded by young players with star potential. But conventional wisdom means nothing to Kyrie. He’s told us that with his words and actions. Kyrie has earned the right to control his career, and that’s exactly what he will do next summer. Let’s hope he decides this city is the best place on Earth, whatever shape it may be, for him to grow in.

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Danny Ainge has got the jokes...aimed at Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown

Danny Ainge has got the jokes...aimed at Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown

Danny Ainge was busy on Twitter late last night poking a little fun at a couple of his players.

Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, wondered where the defense was in a video of "Scary" Terry Rozier playing in a pickup game with Wizards guard John Wall and other NBAers. 

A little good-natured payback for Rozier's FaceTime interruption of Ainge's drafting of Robert Williams back in June?

A few minutes before his Rozier tweet, Ainge saw a video tweeted by Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton of Jaylen Brown showing his skills on the piano at the Berkeley campus' Sproul Plaza. Brown spent a year at Cal before being drafted by Boston in 2016.

Ainge couldn't resist a jab at Brown's ball-handling skills. 

So, Celtics players, post those Twitter videos at your own risk because the boss is watching.

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Anything is Podable Episode Two: New owner, new era

Anything is Podable Episode Two: New owner, new era

It’s not very often that a marquee franchise like the Boston Celtics is sold, but in 2002, control of the green and white changed hands.

Episode Two of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” looks at the first several years of the Wyc Grousbeck era and how the new ownership group began to lay the building blocks of the next great Celtics team.

“Mortgaged the house to put down the deposit and started to figure out whom I could call to raise all this money,” said Grousbeck in an exclusive interview for the podcast series. “But as of that moment, I knew I was going to be the controlling owner of the Boston Celtics, or I was going to die trying. I mean, that was going to happen.”

While the Celtics’ transformation from pretender to contender took several years, Grousbeck and his team were committed to giving fans the team’s seventeenth championship.

“When you come into the Celtics, you can’t come into it for money, and we never did” added Grousbeck. “I named the company ‘Banner 17’ because I wanted to win the 17th banner and hopefully more.”

The podcast continues on to address the coaching transition from Jim O’Brien to Doc Rivers, as well as Danny Ainge’s first few seasons as General Manager and President of Basketball Operations.

“I’m not exaggerating if I say 10-15 different coaches and ex-coaches told me not to take the Boston job,” said Rivers. “Too much pressure, they’re going to be bad for a long time, not sure if you and Danny will work well together. I mean, I just got a lot of calls.”

“As excited as I was for Doc, you know, Wyc and Pags, they wanted to sign him before we left the house,” joked Ainge. “They were so excited. They were enamored with Doc.”

With Ainge and Rivers now in charge of all things on the court, Grousbeck and his team were on their way to fulfilling their goal.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.